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Going Home: The Gift of a Normal Life

Saturday, January 26, 2008 | New Orleans

Our normal 20 minute devotion stretched into 90 minutes on our last night together in the bunkhouse. We had a lot to say and hear and share. We have become a family to each other. Not just fellow workers or team members. Tonight the Lord cemented the bonds of unity through His Meal, after sharing His heart through His Word, in a letter written by St. Paul to the Colossians while he was in prison. We’re eager to get home now. Although maybe not everyone. And maybe not fully eager for the rest of us. It’s always a mixed bag, isn’t it? Going back home. There can be painful personal histories that we must return to. Less than ideal relationships. Jobs that offer only a shadow of the clarity of purpose that we have been part of in New Orleans. And—we also have to say goodbye to a many new friends who have become a new family to us, as each of us has to one another. On the other hand, there are relieved spouses, giddy children and excited family who are waiting to see us, and we them. It will feel comfortably familiar to arrive home. Like putting on an old pair of well-worn shoes that carry sweet memories of yesterday's journey. Kinda bittersweet.

There have been several memorable lines said this week that I’ll be taking home. Like… - “Over 1,000,000 volunteers have come down to New Orleans to help out since The Storm.”

(Camp Director, Katie, on the first night of our Orientation, when asked about the timeframe of rebuilding and recovery.)

- “You’re not as buff as you think you are.”

(Our Camp Director, Katie, reminded the guys of this on the second day when several of us had walked through the dining hall that morning without a full set of clothes on as we marched in and out of the shower room, which was impossible to get to without walking through the dining hall. For most of us, this came as a rude shock, since most of us continue to carry around in our mind’s eye an image of our masculine physique much as we were when we were 24 years old.)

- “We’re not down here to help people so much as to allow God to minister to us while we engage in this work.”

(Babbet Chatman, during the devotion time on our first day down here, as we were sharing our expectations for the week ahead.)

· “You may not finish some of the projects that you’re working on this week. But just remember—it’s not about you. It’s about what God’s doing. We’re each just one piece of the puzzle and the next group will pick up where we left off.”

(Our final devotion from Camp Director, Katie, in response to some frustrations expressed about not being able to finish some of the projects we started on.)


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